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Serving the Creative Arts Community Since 1974


Work with creative arts & innovation clients across California!

Thank you for your interest in joining the California Lawyers for the Arts Lawyer Referral & Information Service ("LRIS") attorney panel. Our panel is an exciting opportunity for attorneys interested in various legal matters at the intersection of art and law, or for practitioners in the fields of patent, copyright, and trademark! CLA is a State Bar of California Certified Legal Referral & Information Service (LRIS) and has been serving the creative arts community in California since 1974. CLA matches well-screened clients with highly qualified attorneys.


The fees for joining the panel are as follows:

  • Individual Attorney: $75/yr.
  • Small Law Firm (5 attorneys or less): $150/yr.
  • Law Firm: $250/yr.
  • Law Firm Pro Bono Coordinator: $250/yr.
  • In-House Corporate Pro Bono Coordinator: $250/yr.


  • Bar Admission

  • Malpractice Insurance
Note: For in-house corporate attorneys and government attorneys who are applying on behalf of their firms, corporations, or organizations, the LRIS maintains a separate insurance policy to cover those in-house corporate and government attorneys who provide "pro bono only" services as members of the LRIS panel. Thus, attorneys in that category do not need to provide evidence of insurance coverage. However, if you are applying as an individual attorney (though you may be an in-house corporate attorney by occupation), this insurance exception does not apply. You MUST provide a copy of your malpractice insurance in order to be on our Panel. 
  • Agreement to provide forwarding fee

When a client pays a member more than $100 for legal services (beyond the initial half-hour consultation)—for services connected to the specific matter referred by LRIS—the attorney or law firm agrees to promptly remit 15% of the fees paid by the client to CLA's LRIS.


LRIS panel attorney members may choose to accept one, all, or any combination of referral types:

  1. Regular Referrals
  2. Pro Bono Referrals
  3. California Inventors Assistance Program (CIAP) Referrals (Pro Bono)
  4. Modest Means Referrals

1. The LRIS ‘REGULAR’ Referral Process

When making a standard referral, a member of CLA’s Legal Referral & Information Service (LRIS) team will contact the panel member (generally via email) to provide a statement of facts on the case, and opposing party information for conflicts checks. The panel member will then decide whether to accept the referral.

If the panel member accepts the referral, LRIS will send the client’s name, contact information, and case details to the accepting panel member. LRIS then contacts the client to inform them that the referral has been accepted and provides the client with the accepting panel member name and contact information. It is the client’s responsibility to contact the panel member to make arrangements for the consultation. CLA’s involvement with the case does not extend beyond making the referral—although CLA will provide assistance to each party should any problems arise regarding the referral.

The Free Half-Hour Initial Consultation

Upon acceptance of a regular referral, the panel member is obligated to speak with the client for an initial free half-hour consultation. These initial consultations may be done in person or over the phone. The consultation time is to be used solely for providing substantive legal advice to the client. After the 30-minute consultation, the panel attorney can discuss the terms and conditions of full representation after the initial consultation. A written engagement letter between the panel member and the client is strongly recommended if the client engages the panel member following the free consultation.

2. The ‘PRO BONO’ Referral Process

In addition to ‘regular’ referrals, LRIS also operates a ‘pro bono’ referral service. Pro bono matters are regularly offered to panel members that indicate interest in receiving offers of pro bono clients. CLA screens client eligibility for pro bono services based on a set percentage scale of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. When accepting a pro bono referral, the accepting panel member agrees to work on the matter (beyond the initial free half-hour consultation) without charging legal fees to the client.

3. The ‘PRO BONO' "California Inventors Assistance Program (CIAP)" Referral Process

Additionally, under Section 32 of the “America Invents Act,” the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) established a pro bono program designed to assist financially under-resourced independent inventors and small businesses. CLA is the administrator of this program throughout California, processing pro bono intakes in conjunction with the Federal Circuit Bar. This program is called the "California Inventors Assistance Program (CIAP)." When accepting a pro bono CIAP referral, the accepting panel member agrees to work on the matter (beyond the initial free half-hour consultation) without charging legal fees to the client.

4. The 'MODEST MEANS' Referral Process

The Modest Means Program (MMP) is targeted to moderate-income clients seeking affordable legal assistance. The MMP fills the gap between ‘pro bono’ and ‘regular’ referrals. MMP tiers are based on a set percentage scale of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. The MMP is applicable where a matter requires additional work beyond the first half-hour free consultation—but the client is financially unable to pay for legal fees at standard rates. The MMP is not a pro bono program. Clients must be able to pay legal fees within the MMP structure for additional work beyond the free half-hour consultation. CLA screens client eligibility for MMP tiers based on a set percentage scale of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

Panel members participating in the MMP agree to charge reduced rates for legal services. Panel members may request a fee deposit from clients if they choose. MMP attorney or firm fees are ‘pre-set’ under the program to correspond with MMP ‘eligibility tiers.’

The current MMP hourly fee schedule is:

TIER 1 = $60/hr.

TIER 2 = $80/hr.

TIER 3 = $100/hr.

If you would like to become a panel attorney, please register using our Panel Attorney Agreement.



California Lawyers for the Arts is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit and your donation is tax deductible as a charitable contribution to the fullest extent of the law.  State Bar LRS Certificate #0021.

MCLE Provider # 1248.

The information provided on this website is not legal advice. You should consult with an attorney for individual advice regarding your legal matters.

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